Desert Golf Vacation: Saved the Best for Last

(Following is the sixth of six parts and final report on golfing in the Palm Springs area in the summer.)

Day Six:

Looking into the mirror as I was getting ready to wrap-up our last round of golf, I noticed I kinda had a Raccoon look with the white around the eyes and a blood red face. I looked like I had been on a Ski Trip instead of a golf vacation. OH, well, what was planned for this day made it all worth coming to Palm Springs to play golf in the summer.

We were going to finish our golf vacation where we played some eight years before, The Mission Hills Country Club Dinah Shore Course in Rancho Mirage, CA….our all time favorite course we have played in the Palm Springs area.

For the record, we have played better courses in the Palm Springs area over the years but none had the history and memories we have experienced from actually watching the ladies on the LPGA play the holes we were going to play. Needless to say it was kinda exciting to step up on the tee and see exactly where the ladies would have teed off for the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

This time we had no hassles getting through the gate at the club. They were expecting us. We got to the pro-shop and they were expecting us. Being a Sunday, there were a number of members milling around getting ready for some private group outing on the Pete Dye Course. To get out of their way we headed over to the Driving range.

After beating a few balls to death we decided we needed to take a few photos. Naturally we had to have the shot with Dinah so everyone would know where we were. Since our last visit the club had a statue of Dinah placed right off the bridge you have to walk across to get to and from the 18th green. A couple of clicks of the camera and we were called to the tee.

Again, we had the tee to ourselves. We could not remember most of the holes on the front nine. What we will remember most of this trip was the heat of this day was just about the same as the entire trip. The difference was this time each fairway was lined by huge trees providing us shade to get under.

We raced around the front nine pointing out features that we thought we remembered or thought we saw from the television coverage from the late March event. It was not until we stepped up on the 10th tee the fog of our memories started to clear. Every hole on the back came back to us and after we clicked each hole off the card we kept thinking of the two finishing holes which was what we were looking for. To my wife and I, this is where Karrie Webb made her charge on the last two rounds of this years Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Just for the sake of wanting to have something to remember my round there for years to come I played from the KNC Markers they placed on each hole. It was not much of change since on these two holes they were behind the tees I was playing.

On 17 I got to see what the ladies were challenged with. A 171yd shot slightly uphill to a green with trouble all around. The trees blocked any visuals on how the wind was going to affect the shot. Since I felt a breeze coming towards me I powered a 4 iron and came up short. Being way below the green I lobbed the shot up and putted in for a scrambling par. OK, I got that over with. But 18 was not going to be a cake-walk.

Taking the tee on 18 the first thing you see…water ALLLLLLLL the way down the left of a ribbon of a fairway. What a great finishing hole. The main difference with what I was challenged with that the ladies are not challenged with when they play this hole it the 105 degree temp. The heat was beating me like a sledgehammer, so there was not going to be any heroics this time…just going for par.

As you look for the target spot on the fairway you are faced with a couple of Palm tress strategically placed where if you take it to the right of the Palm you are stuck behind a row of trees on the right side of the fairway and if you take it to the left your shot is all carry over the lake to a little finger of the fairway. Being 105, I took it to the right of the Palms.

Now being 245 out and knowing that there was part of the lake in front of the green I didn’t want to spoil my last hole on this great course with something stupid like going for the green. My lay up was to the 100 yard marker. Today’s pin placement was front right of center and looked to have a kick to the right. So I nuked a wedge to the left and sure enough it kicked right and rolled towards the hole…a true made for TV shot… Staring down the birdie putt I could only think about the new pond that they built right next to the green. I was wondering if they made it just for the winner to jump in…because as hot as it was if I three putted I was heading that way myself. But I didn’t and did par the hole leaving me with that memory of paring the last two holes of the Dinah Shore course in the middle of the summer.

Now how do you cap off a great round on a great course…with lunch and a cold beer. Now there is one thing that the bars in Palm Springs think they have but never deliver and that is a COLD beer. They claim they have the coldest in Southern California but for this Texan, not even close. So I have my beer over ice. You may ask…doesn’t that water the beer down? My answer…Not as fast as I drink it…

We wrapped up lunch and a cold one and headed back to clean up with our mission being…go back to Pete Carlton’s…of course.

As we got to Pete’s we noticed that not much had changed since we were there the evening before other than the construction they were working on for the New Jamie Sadock showroom filled the store with the smell of fresh paint.

We spent about an hour in the shop looking around. Picked up a few things and then I heard my stomach growling so it was either dinner time or martini time…either way it was time to head out to were we were going to have dinner this evening…The Fisherman’s Market Grill.

Since the referral we got for this restaurant said it was one of the best places to get REAL GOOD seafood we did not know what exactly we were getting into. The address put us in the middle of a strip shopping center. We saw AJ’s (one of the best steakhouses in the valley) but it was not until we went around behind AJ’s did we finally see the place. A little shop on the corner of the strip center…what tha?

Finding a parking spot was challenging but not as challenging as what we had to deal with when we got inside. The set up was you got in line to order. The menu was a huge chalkboard on the wall listing all of the fish hey served leading me to believe that they must of bought everything the fishing boat netted because there were a few fish on the list I had never heard of.

As we visited with the couple behind us we found that the favorite of the locals there was SandDa’s. We had heard of them when we were over at Arnie’s earlier and was told that it was his favorite. Asking what the heck a SandDa was the best description put them in the category of a Catfish…I order the Alaskan Salmon Fish Taco’s…my wife had the SandDa’s…

I was not too surprised to know that there was not a Martini to be had in this place. This was like the Soup Nazi version of seafood restaurant. You ordered what you wanted and the selection of the only two sides they had, you were provided a number which indicated what table you were sitting at, whether you wanted to sit there or not and that was that.

We went to our assigned number table and watch the locals all going past the line to grab the table they wanted and guard it like they just bought some land in Oklahoma or something.

A few minutes later our food came out. The pace of things in this restaurant was so fast you seem to take the pace of the crowd flowing through as the pace you were to eat. So I shoved my Fish Taco’s down my neck and chugged my warm (cold by their standards) Corona and we were off… and out in less than 30 minutes.

What a way to end our trip to Palm Springs. But it was not on a low note. The food was good and Fisherman’s Market Grill would be great place for someone who wanted to eat face and go…

But without having a martini it left me with pronouncing Pacifica with the best martinis in Palm Springs….and to proclaim that we did not have enough fun in the sun so we are coming back, but next time when it is cooler. Now it was time to get back and start the long process of PACKING to go home early the next morning…Seeya…

Scot Duke, President of Innovative Business Golf Solutions, provides over 31 years of corporate management experience to helping businesses improve their marketing strategies. As author of: How To Play Business Golf, Mr. Duke outlines the steps to sucessfully using golf as a business tool. To learn more about Mr. Duke, IBGS or to purchase How To Play Business Golf visit




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